Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ASU president pushes for passage of 'Dream Act'

Arizona State University President Michael Crow is pushing for passage of a federal law that would enable illegal immigrant students to remain in the United States, get their college degrees and have a path to citizenship. The bill, called the "Dream Act," has been introduced several times in recent years but has not been approved by Congress.
Crow sent a two-page letter recently to four U.S. senators who are supporters of the legislation and/or in leadership roles in the Senate. ASU officials said they also sent the letter to some other members of Congress, including those from Arizona.
It was signed by eight other university presidents, including Mark G. Yudof, president of the University of California system, and Charles B. Reed, president of the California State University system. The letter urges Congress to pass the measure as stand-alone legislation or as part of comprehensive immigration reform.
The letter says that undocumented high school graduates who want to obtain a college education are being thwarted by the country's dysfunctional immigration system.
"These are students brought to the United States as children, innocents caught up in the middle of the immigration debate," the letter says. "The decision to come to this country was not theirs. But America is the only home they have known and they have spent their young lives being good students, working hard and staying out of trouble."
The letter goes on to detail the benefits of a college education: higher wages, lower crime rates and less likely to end up on public assistance.
Over the past year, various college presidents have come out in support of the Dream Act, including Harvard President Drew Gilpin, University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutman and Tufts University President Lawrence Bacow, among others.
The latest version of the "Dream Act," introduced in March 2009 would apply to people under age 35 who entered the U.S. before age 16 and have been in the country at least five consecutive years. They have to graduate from a U.S. high school, or have obtained a GED or be accepted at a college or university. They also have to be of "good moral character," although the legislation doesn't define exactly what that means. Students would get conditional permanent residency, meaning they couldn't be deported for being here illegally while they are in school. They would eventually be able to apply for legal residency and then to be a U.S. citizen.
The letter signed by the college presidents asks Congress to go a step further and allow Dream Act students to be eligible for federal financial aid. Illegal immigrants currently cannot get federal financial aid, such as federal student loans or Pell grants, to attend school.
The letter was also signed by presidents from the University of Washington, the University of Minnesota, the University of Utah, Washington State University, the University of New Mexico and Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich.
The letter was sent to Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), the sponsor of the 2009 Dream Act legislation, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Indiana). Durbin sponsored the legislation and Lugar and Schumer are co-sponsors.
crossposted from LiveWireBlog/azcentral.com

Call to Action: Mass DREAM Mobilization in Washington D.C. on July 19th-21st

The time to mobilize and demand the dream act is now. We have a short window of opportunity to pass the Dream Act in congress. Over the course of the last two years we have been successful in building up our collective base and now more than ever, we need to show our collective power as immigrant youth. We have been able to accomplish many things including securing 40 co sponsors in the Senate and develop Dream Teams in places that have never had a base before. All of this work, all of the petition signatures you gathered and sent in are now bearing fruit. All of the rallies you attended to meet new people, all of the lobby visits and relationships you built are now critical for passage of the Dream Act. Make your work count now! Come to Washington D.C. between July 19th and the 21st for three days of escalation and action on Capitol Hill.

Join us for a mass mobilization for the DREAM Act on Capitol Hill from July 19-21st

Dont know how to get started? Follow the steps below to get started
If you are an individual:
  • talk to friends and family and get them to come to D.C. with you.
  • Check out the Dream Map to see if there any youth projects near your area and contact them to see if you they will be mobilizing to DC
Youth Groups
If you are working in a group try to organize a caravan to D.C. There are several being planned across the country. Register on our website and we can follow up with you by connecting you to a group near you.
If you are a part of an organization try to organize a bus delegation to D.C! Register your organization on our registration form and we will follow up with more information and logistics.